April 30, 2023

Genuine - Maturity


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Genuine - Maturity

Message Outline

1 Peter 1:23–2:3,11-12 (NIV)

23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For,

“All people are like grass,

    and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;

the grass withers and the flowers fall,


    but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

And this is the word that was preached to you.

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

What does genuine maturity in Jesus look like?

You may grow up in your salvation.

1. Experienced God’s goodness.

Now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8 (NIV)

2. Turning away from sin.

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit… to abstain from sinful desires.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22–24 (NIV)

3. Desiring God’s nurturing word.

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk.

Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 3 You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 1 Corinthians 3:1–3 (NIV) *see Hebrews 5:11–14

4. Glorifying God in the world.

Live such good lives among the pagans… see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and

glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (NIV)

Small Group Questions

CONNECT WITH GOD  (Select one of the below practices to begin your small group time this week or select a practice from a previous week.)

Prayer and Journal Practice (10 minutes) Follow the steps below in your journaling time. Begin and end with prayer.  

  • Pray expectantly and with a posture of openness. Consider using this short prayer from Ted Loder: 

“Oh God, gather me now to be with You, as You are with me.” 

  • Read Psalm 34:4-8. Take your time. 
  • Journal by writing or drawing. There is no prompt. Let your response flow—whatever it is.  
  • Pray once more and ask God to lead you throughout your week in reflection and discernment as you remember Psalm 34. 

Lectio Divina

  • Alone: Read 1 Peter 1:23–2:3,11-12 or choose another passage from this week’s message outline. Underline a word or phrase that especially grabs your attention. Pray from that word or phrase and ask God to help you connect to its particular invitation for you this week. (This practice is from Everyday Connections Year A, ed. Heidi Haverkamp)


Read 1 Peter 1:23–2:3,11-12

  • Alone: Read the passage and journal (10 minutes). 
  • Do a brief ‘life review’. What have been the themes and rhythms of your life with God? How does 1 Peter 2:2-3 impact how you think about your own journey of faith? 
  • After you have read, share with one another in pairs (5-7 minutes). 

CONNECT WITH SCRIPTURE (Read the passages and review the sermon outline. Then select the best questions or customize the questions for your group.)

  • Read the main points from the sermon outline.
  • What questions, observations, or reactions do you have after reflecting on the passage and sermon? 
  • What is ‘the word that was preached to you’ (1:25)? 
  • What does it mean to ‘grow in our salvation’ (2:2)?
  • In what ways are you tempted to conform to attitudes and behaviors that are not of Jesus? (2:1, 11)
  • Why do you think Peter reminds the churches in Asia Minor of their identity as ‘foreigners and exiles’ (2:11)? 
  • How do you hear the Holy Spirit speaking to you in your context today? 

CONNECT WITH GOD’S MISSION IN THE WORLD  (Reflect on the prompt below.)

11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

  • What does it mean for us to live such good lives that those around us see our good deeds and glorify God? 
  • Confess the ways you have fallen short of living what Peter calls a ‘good life’. 
  • What can you commit to in your daily lives (big and small) to glorify God in your neighborhood, community, and in the world? 


May 4th is the National Day of Prayer. Using the insert provided this Sunday as a guide, pray for the needs of our country, for the witness of the church in the places we live and the people we meet, and for the Holy Spirit to empower and equip us to go into the world with genuine faith, hope, and love.